AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the correct AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and guidelines for choosing the right AC filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are elements that cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Common indoor allergens include:

    • Dust mites
    • Pet dander
    • Mold spores
    • Tobacco smoke
    • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
    • Bacteria and viruses

Common outdoor allergens include:

    • Pollen
    • Ragweed
    • Wildfire smoke
    • Smog and ozone

These allergens can be in the air or settle on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is a critical part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to lower the amount of allergens is a key component.

Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Traditional AC filters are ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are merely supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap allergens and restrict them from circulating through your home.

The best AC filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can catch pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for much-needed relief.

Please keep in mind that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to remove at least 99.97 percent of particles as little as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them highly effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters limit airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential applications. Consult a professional before installing a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.

Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?

While allergy air filters for AC units are typically more costly than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality AC filter for allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. In addition, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to purchase one.

Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter

Identifying the right air filter is vital for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the optimal HVAC system filter for allergies:

    • Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the ideal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
    • Choose the correct filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the right filter size.
    • Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more effectively than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
    • Replace your filter regularly: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for optimal performance. The general rule is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
    • Seek advice from a professional: If you’re not sure about which filter is best for your needs or how to maintain your HVAC system properly, ask an experienced technician to help you make an informed decision.

Install a High-Quality Air Filtration System in Your Home

If you or someone in your household suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, improving your AC filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you find and install the perfect air filtration system for your home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.

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